For First Time In 5 Decades, City Council Votes To Put The Breaks On City Drivers


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Get ready to slow down on city streets.

For the first time in more than 50 years, the City Council has voted to lower the speed limit, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported Tuesday.

With 44 “yay” votes, lawmakers were quick to slow New York City drivers down.

“It’s not every day that we get to save lives around here — and that’s what we’re doing today,” Councilman David Greenfield said.

Greenfield sponsored the bill, which drops the default speed limit in the city to 25 mph. The bill is the 13th passed as part of the de Blasio administration’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which is aimed at cutting down traffic and pedestrian fatalities.

“Speed is the No. 1 contributing factor in an accident. This is actually going to prevent accidents because if you drive slower you’re less likely to get into an accident, less likely to get in a serious accident, less likely to kill somebody,” Greenfield said.

How big of a difference will the new speed limit make for pedestrians? Supporters of the bill say anyone who is struck by a driver going 25 mph would have a 100 percent higher chance of survival compared to someone hit by a driver going 30 mph.

“If the driver had been going 25 mph who struck my son, he probably would’ve been able to stop in time,” Amy Cohen said.

Cohen, of Brooklyn, was on hand for the vote.Wednesday was to mark a year since her 12-year-old son was killed by a speeding driver.

While she applauds the passage, she said enforcement of the new speed limit will be key.

“Families do not recover from this. This is a loss that impacts not only the person who is killed but everyone else who is around them,” Cohen said. “My daughter, my husband, myself, our friends, our family, it’s a loss no one should have to suffer.”

Mayor de Blasio still has to sign the bill. When he does, the Department of Transportation said it will start a driver education campaign letting everyone know about the lower speed limit.

Highways and parkways will still have higher limits. Once the mayor signs the bill, the new limit will take effect on Nov. 7.

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